How a Successful Medium Story Ruined Me

3 min readNov 17, 2020
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

I originally started Medium to write divisive articles about politics, social justice, and shamanism. As I matured as a writer, I found my voice in writing about myself and my hobbies. If I had 30 reads, I considered it a success. That was until one of my articles hit it big.

I decided last-minute to write an article about a running strategy called the “Maffetone Method”. It was something I played around with to try to become a better runner and didn't think much of it when publishing the article. I wrote it in about 20 minutes and hadn’t put that much thought into it. The next day, it exploded.

Courtesy of Bradley S.

I saw it climb in viewership by leap and bounds as the next week unfolded. I couldn’t believe it! Every day doubled in views and reads. By the end of October, there were over 10,000 reads, 6,000 reads, and hovered around 150 hours of reading time. It completely crushed the views from any other article I’ve written. I only have published 40 articles so far, while most of them are accepted by a publication, none have even come near the success of this article.

It’s been difficult writing articles ever since. A lot of self-doubt entered my mind when trying to chase previous success. I am gauging all my writing now under the standards of the attention that one article received! It’s led me to second-guess myself a lot lately, as I am wondering if I should write what I want or try to write articles that I think are more likely to blow up.

I have written about 15 articles since that one really exploded, but none have gotten the same attention. It’s difficult to plan how to venture forward from this point as I really liked how successful that one was. After conducting extensive research, I am still not sure what makes a victorious article. I’ve tried reading other popular articles to see what parallels I can draw, but I still don't completely get it.

My strategy is to research as much I can as well as writing genuine articles, otherwise I may find yourself writing articles which I neither care about nor anyone else really cares about. I will also continue to experiment, but sticking with my expertise seems like the best bet. I just hope my perspective will align with what brings extreme viewership once again.

One thing I would recommend to anyone: Find publications you enjoy on Medium and read as much as you can. Great writers are just readers taking a break, and vice versa. The more you read, the more you’ll realize your own perspective and see how your stories fit in.

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